Livid Explains Why You Should Buy An Ohm64 Instead Of An APC40 Or A Novation Launchpad

livid-block

Livid Instruments‘ Peter Nyboer published an interesting post over the weekend, explaining his thoughts on why you should buy one of his company’s controllers, like the Livid Block, over alternatives from larger companies, like Akai’s APC40 or the Novation Launchpad:

Jay and I first saw the APC40 at the NAMM convention in January. We went to NAMM to meet with dealers and show them our plans for the year, sharing some prototype work of the Ohm64, prepared to highlight how we were evolving our existing Ohm controller (which was initially targeted at VJ’s), and broadening our reach to musicians. We felt like we had a unique product to offer.

Practically the first thing we saw when we walked into the giant convention hall was the APC40: a direct competitor, well-funded with an existing sales and marketing network, an established if not legendary brand, teamed with the hottest product, priced way below what we could imagine, speaking directly to the customers we had hoped to reach. It was a bit disheartening, to say the least, and brought up the very question you ask. Unfortunately for us, the dilemma was more an existential one: not “What do I buy?” but “Why am I here?”

The reason we are here is because we want to offer a foundation for gratifying creative work. As you’ve observed, our controllers are designed to work well with Ableton’s emphasis on tracks, clips and effects. A company called NativeKontrol (http://www.nativekontrol.com/) has even designed software that works “between” Live and the Ohm64 to provide the navigation control and automatic mapping of the environment.

Nyboer goes on to explain some of the hardware, software and philosophical differences that might make you want to get a Livid controller, and why an APC40 might be a better choice for some people.

It’s a must read, if you’re considering purchasing a matrix controller.

It also highlights that we suddenly are flooded with great options for matrix sequencer controllers, ranging from the relatively inexpensive Novation Launchpad to the more boutique monome 128. They’re all good options, depending on your need and budget – but Nyboer makes a good case for paying a  little more for a solution that gives you more options.

See Nyboer’s full post here – and leave a comment with your thoughts on which of these controllers is the best solution.

9 thoughts on “Livid Explains Why You Should Buy An Ohm64 Instead Of An APC40 Or A Novation Launchpad

  1. It's a bit ironic that they're complaining about getting undercut by Akai when they themselves are trying to undercut the Monome.

  2. @heartpound: While we share somethings with the monome, we actually offer a device that monome does not, using a communications protocol the monome doesn't use, in a distribution channel that the monome does not occupy. There is not an attempt to undercut, but evolve from our beginnings (check our history page on our site), and also build on ideas the monome offers. If we simply kept offering the same buttons we did in 2001, we'd have people asking "why don't you have LED talkback like the monome?" I'm not complaining about getting "undercut" by akai – but from where we sit, it's pretty tall competition that initially overwhelmed us, but has actually help us gain perspective in what we do.

  3. Apples and oranges. The Novation and Akai products are for the masses. Made by large corps with cheap manufacturing.

    The Monome and Ohm64 are handmade. For a small audience of the hardest of the hardcore. The same people who will pay $800 dollars for filter module for a modular synth.
    Its really not the same audience.

    Its a little like Ferrari saying "Honda stole our cup holder design"
    Ferrari does not care what Honda does becuase Ferrari does not make a 15,000$ car.
    Monome and Livid do not make a sub $400 controller.

    Will they lose money to Akai or Novation? Probably.
    But only becuase most people don't have $500+ to spend on a controller.

    Right or wrong. It always comes back to money.

  4. I second what Dajebus is saying.

    I got the APC40 because it suits what I wanted to do live. I weighed up the monome, launchpad, livid block and the APC40 before buying and the APC40 was right for me.

    The launchpad and APC40 are for the masses but the livid block and monome are for people who really want a complete open source controller. All these controllers have in common is they have a button matrix, they are for different markets.

    That said it's not great that Akai and Novation have jumped on what was a niche market and are now bringing it to the masses. Eventually people will want more control and quality and I can see this developing into sales for Livid and monome.

    Don't be dis heartened by the APC40 or launchpad Livid and keep doing what your doing. Respect for putting in so much hard work to create an original product.

  5. How is this device:
    1. Similar
    2. Different
    from the monome?

    also, what's the functionality of this device with MAX/MSP?

  6. I see the Ohm64 as a musical instrument that when looked after, can potentially last for a lifetime. Just like a quality guitar or a drumkit.

    Products like the APC40 or ZeroSL (I own one) are nice for what they are, but will inevitably have a limited number of years usage until something breaks, or the unit itself becomes obsolete and unsupported by the manufacturer.

    I've had my ZeroSL for 3 years, and one of the knobs has stopped working. I know its not worth trying to find spare parts, let alone fixing it myself. I'll have to post the whole unit back to Novation (at my expense), who will source the parts from China, fix it themselves, post it back to me, and probably charge me half what I paid for the thing.

    I know that eventually my Zero SL will end up in that big cupboard full of random electronic equipment I don't use anymore.

    With the Ohm64 I know I can order the parts directly from the factory, open up the unit myself (without voiding any warranties) and replace whatever needs replacing.

    Ohm64 is definitely on my shopping list 🙂

  7. I see the Ohm64 as a musical instrument that when looked after, can potentially last for a lifetime. Just like a quality guitar or a drumkit.

    Products like the APC40 or ZeroSL (I own one) are nice for what they are, but will inevitably have a limited number of years usage until something breaks, or the unit itself becomes obsolete and unsupported by the manufacturer.

    I've had my ZeroSL for 3 years, and one of the knobs has stopped working. I know its not worth trying to find spare parts, let alone fixing it myself. I'll have to post the whole unit back to Novation (at my expense), who will source the parts from China, fix it themselves, post it back to me, and probably charge me half what I paid for the thing.

    I know that eventually my Zero SL will end up in that big cupboard full of random electronic equipment I don't use anymore.

    With the Ohm64 I know I can order the parts directly from the factory, open up the unit myself (without voiding any warranties) and replace whatever needs replacing.

    Ohm64 is definitely on my shopping list 🙂

  8. One thing I wanna say is you have to be a scientist and have few 1000 dollars to get OHM 64 to seqence right with Max4Live. Maybe i’m missing something but for the life of me I can’t get it to work and reading forums on Livid confuses me even more. If I could rewind time with the $700 in my pocket that day at the music store I would have brought something else.

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